CCA Wattis, San Francisco

Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts / 360 Kansas Street
CA 94103-5130 San Francisco

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artist / participant

press release

Harrell Fletcher, himself a renowned artist, is the author of this unique, biographical exhibition featuring artworks by Michael Bravo, his mentor, family member, and friend. The presentation includes not only paintings, drawings, photographs, prints, and sculptures produced by Bravo over the past 50 years, but also a wide range of personal objects that Bravo created for Fletcher’s family, including wooden ships, airplanes, and mobiles. It will also feature family snapshots and other ephemera from Bravo’s life and career. The exhibition is part of The Magnificent Seven, a Wattis Institute program in which seven contemporary artists are integrated into the larger artistic and academic life of California College of the Arts.

Bravo married Fletcher’s older sister when Fletcher was a baby. Fletcher grew up wanting to be just like him; Bravo was an artist, a builder, a musician, and a generally unorthodox person completely different from everyone else in the Fletcher family. Bravo’s artwork made a particularly early and deep impression; Fletcher recalls being confused and intrigued by Bravo’s abstract, strange, and varied pieces. Fletcher was 10 years old when Bravo and his sister divorced, and he didn’t see his mentor again until he was 18 and enrolled at Humboldt State University, where Bravo was an instructor. After Fletcher graduated the two saw each other only occasionally over the next decade, but their lives continued to coincide in interesting ways. Fletcher attended graduate school at CCA, where Bravo had obtained his BFA and MFA degrees. Bravo’s life and artwork continue to serve as guideposts for Fletcher.

About The Magnificent Seven September 2009 marked the launch of The Magnificent Seven at the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts. The seven participating international artists are Abraham Cruzvillegas, Harrell Fletcher, Ryan Gander, Renata Lucas, Kris Martin, Paulina Olowska, and Tino Sehgal. Over a three-year period they are being integrated into every aspect of the institution’s structure and activities. Each one presents a solo exhibition, completes a Capp Street Project artist residency, produces a publication, teaches a number of courses as a CCA faculty member, delivers a public lecture, and participates in other aspects of the Wattis’s programming. The Magnificent Seven is curated by Jens Hoffmann, director of the CCA Wattis Institute.

About Michael Bravo Bravo was born in Oakland and raised in Sacramento. His work has been included in group exhibitions at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco, and the Oakland Museum of California. He received his BFA and MFA degrees from California College of the Arts. From 1973 to 2004 Bravo was an instructor at Humboldt State University, and he continues to live in that area.

About Harrell Fletcher Born in 1967 in Santa Maria, California, Fletcher has worked collaboratively and individually on a variety of socially engaged, interdisciplinary projects. His traveling exhibition The American War, begun in 2005, has been presented at several art institutions across the United States, including White Columns, New York, and the MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies in Boston. A book version of his ongoing project Learning To Love You More, a participatory website launched in 2002 with the artist Miranda July, was published in 2007. Fletcher received a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1990 and an MFA from California College of the Arts in 1994. He is currently a professor of art at Portland State University.

The Magnificent Seven:
Harrell Fletcher
Selections from the Life and Work of Michael Bravo